Athlete(s) of the Year 2020
Last year was an 'out of the ordinary' year for all of us. Ultrarunners showed resilience and they showed courage persevering through the pandemic spreading across the globe. We respect all the efforts and thank you for your commitment.
We took a different approach with the Athlete of the Year Award for 2020 since our entire calendar was wiped out due to the pandemic. We wanted to ensure that we continued with these awards regardless of the circumstances and challenges last year.
We have chosen to select "ULTRARUNNERS" as our Athletes of the Year. The ultrarunners showed great resilience and courage during the pandemic. They came out in full force during the Global Solidarity Run and brought ultrarunning to the forefront and the global stage. Congratulations to all!
We have selected six athletes, who participated in the IAU Global Solidarity Run in 2020, to represent six different regions of the IAU world. These athletes are the voices and faces of the hundreds and thousands of ultrarunners around the globe.
- Argentina Martinez (Bolivia)
- Maja Bonačić (Croatia)
- Kathia Rached (Lebanon)
- Iliya Pam Mwanta (Nigeria)
- Mathieu Leng (Cambodia)
- Luka Videtic (Slovenia)
Below you can find a short quote from each of the athletes
Covid 19 arrived as an invisible enemy, which broke all world barriers, in the face of this virus we are the same but it also came to unite us in a single feeling. The 6 hours came to unite that feeling, that we can adapt to adversity and raise our creativity to maximum power. The 6 hours meant being more united than ever, without borders, without social classes, without prejudice, just pure determination that we will get out of this, maybe hurt but not defeated.
The event was a nice opportunity to connect with other ultra runners, although only through virtual race. I was alone in Germany on a holiday and it was rainy, but still I was very motivated to have a serious race and enjoyed it very much. The "corona year" was very demanding for all of us, and many races didn't occur. Of course, the health is more important than races, so virtual races were great opportunity to motivate myself to keep on training on regular basis. Hope this will all pass soon, and that will have normal live races, with human contact.
The event provides me with more sustainability and preparation for ultra marathons. It is highly important and joyful for me as I am doing it in my country among my athlete-partners. It was a year of cancelling all what was on my to-do-list and substituting it with improving performance and strengthening weak points rather than fulfilling objectives.
Covid-19 is a huge set back to the sports industry nationwide. During lockdown training wasn't easy and I was just barely maintaining my fitness. Please, covid is real, let's observe the covid-19 guidelines and stay safe. Thanks.
Iliya Pam Mwanta
It always means a lot to run for my country (even if only virtually), so big thanks to the IAU for organizing the Global Event. It was a wonderful bringing the global running community together in these difficult times. It has been a very difficult year as an athlete to stay motivated and train hard due to the lack of competition. However, running is my passion and it has been a great outlet in these hard times. So even though the intensity of my running has dropped, the volume has increased!
The IAU Virtual Solidarity Run was a fun experience and in a year without many competitions a reason to keep me race fit. In the company of the best Slovenian ultrarunners I was able to run a good result and most importantly spend some time with teammates and friends. I was lucky in an unlucky year. The covid-19 pandemic did not affect dramatically my way of living. I was still able to work normally and do running every day. I missed racing and spending time with my running friends the most.
Congratulation to all Athletes
IAU Executive Council